Driver's exams to be offered in Spanish

Tuesday, July 15th 2003, 12:00 am

By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Driver's exams in cities across the state will be given in Spanish as early as next fall.

A $50,000 project will provide equipment in several cities that will allow native Spanish-speakers to take a driver's exam in Spanish, said Karen Gentry, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety.

``We feel that this is a very positive endeavor for our agency and for the Hispanic community,'' Gentry said.

Applicants will use headphones and a computer keypad to answer questions in Spanish. The tests will be graded by computers.

Gentry said the equipment will help the limited personnel at the testing sites.

Each site will be able to accommodate about five people at a time.

``We wanted to be able to do this in the most efficient and economical way, and we believe we can accomplish that,'' Gentry said.

People wanting to take the test in Spanish must show proper identification and proof of legal U.S. status.

Gentry credited Sen. Bernest Cain, R-Oklahoma City, for initiating legislation in 2002 to provide the Spanish-testing sites.

Legislators passed the law that required the Oklahoma Department of Safety to offer driving tests in Spanish beginning Nov. 1, 2002.

Funding was not included in the legislation. Budget cuts prohibited earlier implementation.

The next step after implementing the Spanish testing sites, Gentry said, is printing driver's manuals in Spanish.

``They need the study guide to successfully complete the test,'' she said. ``We're almost there.''

Exams in Spanish will be available in Ada, Altus, Ardmore, Claremore, Edmond, Enid, Guymon, Jenks, Lawton, McAlester, Midwest City, Norman, north Tulsa, south Oklahoma City, Stillwater and Woodward.

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